A Season of Light
The Hanukkah and Christmas seasons converge again this year with the first night of Hanukkah falling on Sunday, December 22, 2019. The holiday continues for 8 days until Monday, December 30, 2019. I turn 72 on December 21, 2019, and will celebrate my birthday by ministering that evening at the annual MJAA SE Regional Messianic conference. If any of you are in the Orlando area, I would love to see you in person.
Both holidays emphasize LIGHT — or (ohr) in Hebrew. Hanukkah is also called the “Festival of Lights,” and Christmas celebrates the “Light of the World.” Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the true Light (John 1:9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46). But this Light did not appear for the first time at the incarnation, when Yeshua was born as a baby in the Land of Israel.
The Light of the Messiah was from the beginning—at creation. Since God did not create the sun and the moon until the fourth day, He was referring to another LIGHT when He said in Genesis 1:3, “Let there be light! And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen. 1:3-4). The ancient Rabbinic sages understood this Light to be a Messianic allusion—the light of the Messiah. They considered the Aramaic word Nehora (light) to be one of the secret names of the Messiah. They believed the prophecies of Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 60:1-3 where the Messiah would be a “light of the Gentiles.” They interpreted Daniel 2:22, “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him,” to mean, “‘And Nehora dwells with him.’ This is the Messiah-King, for it is written, ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come'” (Isa. 60:1).
The Messiah — Before Bethlehem
Yeshua is indeed found throughout the Torah. He is the fulfillment of the Torah. He is seen in types, shadows, and actual pre-incarnate appearances. Moses actually wrote about the Messiah 1,400 years before he was born. Yeshua affirmed that when He said: “For If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (Jn. 5:46).
And now let’s take a quick journey from Genesis to Deuteronomy to see Yeshua In the Torah.
Genesis 3:15 is a direct messianic prediction, also called the Proto Evangel or the “Mother Prophecy,” because it is the original proclamation of the promise of God‘s redemptive plan for the whole world. This prophecy says that there would be great hatred between the seed of Satan and the seed of Eve. A future descendant of Eve, who would have no human father, would crush the head of the enemy, but His heel would be bruised. This is exactly what happened at the crucifixion of Yeshua. He dealt Satan a final, deadly blow when He died as the atonement for the sins of the world. They pierced his feet, but Yeshua rose from the dead victorious over hell, the devil, and death. He is the seed of the woman spoken about in Genesis 3:15.
In Genesis 22, also known as the Akedah, or the Binding of Isaac, we see a beautiful foreshadowing of the Messiah on many levels. We see a father, Abraham, climbing a mountain to sacrifice his only son, according to the will of God. We see a son, Isaac, submitting to the will of his father. We see God providing a sacrifice in the form of a ram. We see a father, Abraham, believing that God could resurrect his beloved son. Abraham named the mountain Yahweh Yireh, “the Lord will provide;” he saw a future deliverance that would come through a future Son. Isaac, the son of promise, was a type of Yeshua, the promised Son.
Continuing in Bereshit, Genesis, chapter 28, we see the patriarch Jacob beholding a ladder going up to heaven, with angels going up and coming down. This ladder, sulam in Hebrew, connected heaven and earth. Rabbi Neil often said that religion is man trying to do good works to work his way up to heaven. But God sent a ladder down from heaven, in the form of Yeshua, His Son, to bring us into relationship with Himself. Yeshua actually said that he was that ladder in John 1:51: “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
There are more types and shadows of Yeshua in the first book of the Torah, but I would like to briefly mention some in each of the next four books.
The Passover lambs of Exodus chapter 12 foreshadow the final Passover Lamb, Yeshua, whose blood, when applied by faith, causes death to pass over us.
The Malach Adonai, the Angel of the LORD, Who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, is one of the many pre-incarnate appearances of Yeshua, before he was born as a baby in Bethlehem. He is also the one who visited Abraham near Sodom, spoke with Hagar fleeing from her mistress, and wrestled with Jacob at Peniel.
The Cohen Gadol, High Priest, as mediator for the children of Israel, and the major figure on Yom Kippur, is a type of Yeshua, our Eternal High Priest. Instead of the blood of bulls and goats, Yeshua took his own blood into the Holy of Holies to purchase eternal redemption for all mankind.
The Mishkan, the tabernacle, as the place where God and man met, presents a beautiful picture of the Messiah who would one day come to reconnect the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with His creation, a connection that was broken by sin.
The bronze serpent, made by Moses and lifted up on a pole so that anyone who looked on the serpent would live, is another type of Yeshua, the Messiah. Yeshua became sin for us, and he was lifted up as well. He said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
In Devarim 18:18, God says that He will raise up a future prophet like Moses and put His words in His mouth. Yeshua was that anointed prophet, who not only spoke FOR God but AS God. There are more than 50 parallels between the lives of Yeshua and Moses—a fascinating study.
In the final parasha of the Torah, Moses, the lawgiver, dies at the edge of the Promised Land. God did not permit him to enter in. This is highly symbolic. We cannot enter the Promised Land through the Law, only by grace. Moses appointed his successor Joshua, Yehoshua, who took God’s people into the Promised Land. He is a type of Yeshua, who takes us into the spiritual Promised Land.
So the Torah concludes by pointing to Yeshua, the “second” but far greater Moses.
An Angel — Unlike Any Other
Angels abound at this time of year—in songs, movies, shopping malls, lawns, even grocery stores. There is one very special Angel, that I briefly mentioned in my presentation at Temple Aron HaKodesh, that is a special Messenger of God found in the Tanach. This Angel, known as the Angel of the Lord, that Angel of YHWH or the Malach Adonai (Mah-LAKH Ah-doe-NYE), is Yeshua, the Messiah, appearing in human form before His birth in Bethlehem.
The pre-incarnate appearances of Messiah are called “Christophanies.” They are not the same as the incarnation, because God only briefly appeared in human form. In the incarnation (the Word becoming flesh), a permanent union of divine and human nature took place. Dr. James A. Borland, in Christ in the Old Testament, defines these appearances as follows: “those unsought, intermittent and temporary, visible and audible manifestations of God the Son in human form, by which God communicated something to certain conscious human beings on earth prior to the birth of Jesus Christ.” The Malach Adonai foreshadowed a future time when God would come to dwell among men.
In the Jewish Talmud the Angel of the Lord is given the name Metatron, which indicates a special relationship with God. He is also known as “the Prince of the Countenance,” and is considered to represent God because of his close relationship with Him. He is the supreme messenger (malach, angel) of the One True God. The Angel of the Lord guided God’s people Israel, worked miracles among them, and executed judgment on Israel’s enemies.
Let’s look briefly at the Malach Adonai in the Holy Scriptures, beginning with the first mention of this very special Messenger of God, identified with God, and as God, but not the God that no man can see (Ex. 33:20—God, the Father).
Gen. 16:7-13. The Malach Adonai found Sarai’s handmaid Hagar by a spring of water, fleeing from her mistress. The Angel told her to return and pronounced that He would multiply her descendants. He told her that she would bear a son and call his name Ishmael because the LORD had heard her affliction. “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?‘” Hagar called the Angel “God.”
Gen. 18 and 19. “Then the LORD appeared to him [Abraham] by the terebinth trees of Mamre.” Abraham saw three men standing before his tent. Two were ordinary angels. One was not. The LORD told Abraham that he would have a son and asked him, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Two angels continued on their journey to Sodom. The Malach Adonai stayed with Abraham and discussed the fate of Sodom. Abraham called the Angel “the Judge of all the earth.”
Gen. 22:1-18. The Akedah (Binding of Isaac). When Abraham was about to slay his son, the Malach Adonai called to him from heaven and said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (vs. 12). (See also vs. 15-18.) The Angel identifies Himself as God.
Gen. 32:24-30. The patriarch Jacob wrestled with a Man until daybreak. The “Man” blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel, saying, “For you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (vs. 28). Jacob then called the place “Peniel”: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (vs. 30). (See Gen. 48:15-16.) Not God the Father. God the Son, Yeshua before Bethlehem.
Gen. 31:11-13. Jacob in conflict with his father-in-law, Laban. “Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am‘” (vs. 11). “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me” (vs. 13). (See also Gen. 32:24-30.) God identifies Himself with the Angel.
Ex. 3:1-6, 10-14. The Malach Adonai appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and Moses turned to see why the bush did not burn. “So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush…” (vs. 4). “Moreover He said, I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (vs. 6). The Angel of the Lord is also God.
Ex. 23:20-23. God, through Moses, told the children of Israel, “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.” The Angel was to be obeyed. He had the power to forgive sin. God’s name was in Him. No ordinary angel!
Num. 22:35-38. The angel of the Lord interrupted the prophet Balaam and his donkey on their way to curse the Israelites. “Then the Angel of the LORD said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak” (vs. 35). Balaam subsequently said to Balak, “The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak” (vs. 38). The Angel’s word and God’s word are one and the same.
Jos. 5:13-15. Joshua was near Jericho when a Man met him who had a sword drawn in His hand. He identified Himself as Commander of the army of the LORD. “And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (vs. 14-15). No ordinary angel. Yeshua before Bethlehem.
Judg. 2:1-5. The Malach Adonai brought the Israelites out of bondage and made a covenant with them, something only God can do! “Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: ‘I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you…But you have not obeyed My voice…” (vs. 1-2).
Judg. 6:11-23. The Malach Adonai encouraged Gideon. “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.” (vs. 12). Gideon lamented over being delivered into the hands of the Midianites. “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours; and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (vs. 14). The interchange continues with the Malach Adonai speaking at times and the LORD at other times. One and the same. After seeing the Angel of the Lord perform a miracle, Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face. Then the LORD said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die” (vs. 22-23). Gideon had met the pre-incarnate Son of God, the only Angel that would accept worship (vs. 24)!
Judg. 13. The Malach Adonai appeared to the wife of a man named Manoah and told her that she would conceive a son who would be a Nazarite to God from the womb. She told her husband saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome…” (vs. 6). The Angel of the LORD gives Manoah instructions in verse 14, but Manoah did not yet know He was the Malach Adonai. The Angel told Manoah that His name was “wonderful.” While a burnt offering was being presented to the LORD, the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. The Angel was worshipped. Ordinary angels do not receive worship. “And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God!‘” (vs. 22). God, yet distinct from God—Ben Elohim, the Son of God.
Thank you for all the love and prayers on behalf of me, my family, and the Jewish Jewels ministry, since my beloved husband Neil’s promotion to glory this year (March 25, 2019). I have felt comforted and cared for, and have experienced the reality of Messiah’s body weeping with those who weep. May our Father in heaven richly bless each one of you for being Yeshua’s hand extended to me. You continue in my prayers.
Love in the One who is the Light to the Gentiles, and the glory of God’s people Israel (Luke 2:32),
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